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Lightweight, collapsible binoculars pack small enough…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $13
Lightweight, collapsible binoculars pack small enough to tuck in a pocket. Full function design has many features that outperform first glance expectations.
- Vivitar optics
- Smooth center wheel focus
- Diopter focus adjustable
- Small and light
- Not for low light or high details
These binoculars were picked up on a lark due to the low price almost two years ago. Despite the Vivitar name on the box I assumed that like most cheap collapsible binoculars they would be more toy than tool. Instead I found they have many of the features I was used to from full size binoculars. The only area where their size affected their performance was the optics where a 25mm lens can only pull in so much light.
Weight and pack space are probably the top reason more folks don't carry binoculars on trail so I'll start there. Manufacturer's website lists a weight of .75 lbs but I'm guessing that must include packaging. By my scale the binoculars with neck string come in at 6.2 oz and the protective case adds 0.6 oz more. Stored in the case dimensions are 4.5" x 2.5" x 1.25"
Once popped out of their case they open easily by folding the lenses out which gives access to the center wheel. Being almost an inch long it makes smooth and precise adjustments possible. Other features include diopter focus adjustment which lets you allow for variance between left and right eye vision, roof prism optics to get the most out of the small size and soft flexible eye pieces to protect glasses or noses.
Fully opened they are roughly 4" wide by 4.5" long so can be worn around the neck without getting in the way if desired and are easy to use in close quarters for game spotting or at a crowded event. The entire body is made of protective plastic that sheds water and mud.
As expected with binoculars of this size the optics are limited in the quality they can deliver. Detail is lost in low light situations and at longer distances. I find them much more useful outdoors than at a concert as an example, but really long distance views become hazy and faded.
For what they cost and what they are these Vivitar CS-1025 binoculars performed well enough to get an average rating as they do what they do well enough. I would recommend them to anyone who'd like to have spotting ability on trail but doesn't want to lug full sized binoculars.
I don't take them on every trip, but when weight is not an issue and I expect to get above the treeline enough to use them I can find room in my pack for these.